Housing, Parking, Bikes and Sidewalks

The Collector

February 17, 2023

McKinleyville Town Center Plans Near Decision Point
Next Wednesday’s meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee may be the last in its years-long process of developing an ordinance to implement the community’s vision for a future town center. At last month’s meeting, Humboldt County Planning Director John Ford stated his hope that the draft ordinance could be finalized and move into the environmental review process by the end of February.

The draft town center ordinance has an explicit focus on walkable and bikeable development that would contrast sharply with the existing car-dominated landscape, and would represent a major improvement over current regulations. But the town center vision could yet be sabotaged by some holdovers from the old way of doing things, including costly parking mandates and a Central Avenue that is both unsafe and uncomfortable for anyone not inside a vehicle. (For more on the history and impacts of parking mandates, check out this recent article by CRTP Executive Director Colin Fiske.) It’s up to us to make sure these issues are addressed before the ordinance moves forward!

Public Workshop on Gateway Zoning Code Next Thursday
The next workshop to get public feedback on proposed rules and regulations for the Gateway area in Arcata will be held next Thursday at 6 pm. For CRTP and other advocates of pedestrian-oriented, bike- and transit-supporting development, constant vigilance is needed to ensure that the standards don’t reflect outdated ideas that prioritize car-centered, low-density neighborhoods. If you want to do more to support the Gateway Plan and ensure that it lives up to its promise to promote a vibrant, low-car, climate-friendly community, email colin@transportationpriorities.org. We’ll put you on a list to get regular reminders and ideas about when input is needed.

More on the Cal Poly Student Housing Crisis
One thing that has stood out to us in recent media coverage is the repetition of statements that “new on-campus housing, along with a parking structure, will house another 600 to 700 students.” (That particular quote is from the statewide CalMatters news agency, but similar statements have appeared in multiple outlets.) Well, we’ve apparently got news for both Cal Poly Humboldt and for reporters: parking garages don’t house students. More to the point, on-campus garages would take up extremely valuable space that should be used to house students – and to house them in a location that would drastically reduce the need for them to have their own private cars in the first place. It often takes more room to store a car than to house a person, and it is outrageous that officials are doubling down on parking garages at a time when the need for on-campus housing couldn’t be greater.

More Bikes, Better Sidewalks in Arcata
The size of Arcata’s bikeshare program has nearly doubled recently with the addition of three new stations around town. Research shows that the success of bikeshare depends largely on the extent of the network, so we’re excited to see it growing.

Arcata is also preparing to start its annual work on bringing sidewalks up to standards. It’s a slow process, but one that is much needed in a town whose walkability is hampered by the dismal state of its narrow, gap-ridden, frequently obstructed sidewalks.

Walk, bike, roll, Street Story.
If you’re out walking, biking, or rolling on local streets, you see hazards and experience near-misses pretty regularly, maybe even every day. Make it a habit to report those things on Street Story. Your reports help us advocate for safer streets, and help government agencies get funding for improvements. La versión de Street Story en español está disponible aquí. 

News from Beyond the North Coast

CalBike Rolls Out New “Invest/Divest” Agenda
We need to put a lot more money into safe, comfortable infrastructure and connected communities, says the statewide bike advocacy organization. But we also desperately need to stop building highways, and stop polluting, displacing and over-policing communities of color. We couldn’t agree more.

Another E-Bike Benefit: More Support for Safe Bikeways
The e-bike boom is exposing a lot more people to the unsafe conditions for bikes in many communities – and creating new bike advocates in the process.

The Collector is CRTP’s weekly transportation news roundup, published every Friday. We focus on North Coast news, but we also include relevant state, national and international transportation news – plus other items that we just find kind of interesting! To submit items for consideration, email colin@transportationpriorities.org.